Queen's Speech 2012: Aid Pledge Failure Disappoints Development Charities

09/05/2012 12:47

Development charities have voiced disappointment that today's Queen's Speech did not include a commitment to enshrine in law the Government's commitment to spend 0.7% of national income on overseas aid.

The coalition agreement stated that Britain would meet the United Nations target from 2013, and would make it a legal requirement to stick to the commitment.

The Conservative manifesto for the 2010 election said a Tory Government would legislate in the first session of Parliament to lock in this level of spending from next year.

But there was no Bill in the legislative agenda for 2012-13 set out by the Queen in Parliament this morning.

The Queen told MPs and peers: "My Government has set out firm plans to spend 0.7% of gross national income as official development assistance from 2013. This will be the first time the United Kingdom has met this agreed international commitment."

Melanie Ward, head of public affairs at development charity ActionAid, said the Government deserved credit for protecting the aid budget.

But she added: "It is extremely disappointing that their promise to enshrine the 0.7% commitment in law did not appear in the Queen's Speech. This is a promise from the coalition agreement and which was in the manifesto of each of the main parties. We expect the coalition Government to keep its promises.

"Legislation matters because aid needs to be around long enough to do the job. Many countries, such as Ghana, are now moving towards an end to dependency on aid but this can only happen if we support them until that point.
"Legislation would provide the certainty that is needed for aid to be most effective.

"The world is watching the Prime Minister's actions on international development because he is co-chairing a UN taskforce to decide what will happen when the Millennium Development Goals expire in 2015.

"The Government backing down on its commitment to legislate on aid would delight those who oppose the UK's progressive stance on aid and dismay those who believe that Britain must stick to its word."

State Opening Of Parliament 2012

09/05/2012 16:59 BST

Labour was 'hyper-active', according to George Eustice

Conservative MP George Eustice has told the BBC that the problem with Labour was its "hyper-active legislation"

"They spent ages bringing in bills that were badly thought through sand then they needed to use sessions to undo what they’d done and reverse the mistakes they’d made," he said.

“I think this government had a full session, a very long session – two years – some very big pieces of legislation went though, and I actually think it’s right that you don’t just jam the programme with endless legislation for the sake of it.”

09/05/2012 16:24 BST

Zac Goldsmith fears retreat on MP recall

The government has been accused of quietly rowing back on political reform by omitting plans to introduce the power to recall MPs mid-term from the Queen's Speech.

Tory backbencher Zac Goldsmith questioned why a Bill was not mentioned in the list of legislation announced on Wednesday morning.

"So where was the promised Recall Bill in the Queen's speech? How can Government expect to 'rebuild trust' if it so casually drops key promises?" he said.

09/05/2012 16:07 BST

Is Cameron saying lobbying reform has been delayed till next year?

@ ChrisMasonBBC :

David Cameron dismisses lack of bill on lobbying in the Queen's Speech, saying there will be another Queen's Speech next year.

09/05/2012 16:03 BST

PM: My government is doing what this country needs

The Prime Minister has mounted a robust defence of his government in the House Of Commons.

He said:

"This is a government that confronts the long-term challenges that we face, and that is what our country needs. A government that rolls up its sleeves to deal with the deficit, not an Opposition that thinks you can borrow your way out of debt."

"A Coalition government that is determined to unleash the private sector, spread growth around our country, sort out our financial services. Not a Labour one that bloated the public sector, sat back while an unregulated banking sector brought our country to its knees."

"A government that is backing hard-working people, not an Opposition that says it’s on their side but refuses to make work pay, refuses to cap welfare and wants to heave debts onto our children."

"This is a government that is taking the tough decisions to help families who work hard and do the right thing. Acting for the long term, governing in the national interest, this is a Queen’s speech to rebuild Britain, and I commend it to the House."

09/05/2012 15:53 BST

Graham Jones MP says Cameron is 'dying on his feet' in the Commons

@ GrahamJones_MP :

Cameron dying on his feet talking about the Queens Speech. Uninspiring. Punch drunk from the omnishambles.

09/05/2012 15:48 BST

Andrew Gwynne MP thinks Cameron is just waffling...

@ GwynneMP :

The PM's response to the Queen's speech debate is waffle. Ed M is obviously still buzzing from the elections. He was at his very best today!

09/05/2012 15:41 BST

Chi Onwurah MP attacks Cameron's 'emptiness'

@ ChiOnwurah :

@Ed_Miliband really nailed the emptiness of a Queen's Speech which doesn't mention jobs & does nothing to create them

09/05/2012 15:35 BST

Cameron summarises his government's agenda...

"It is about a government taking the tough long-term decisions to restore our country to strength, dealing with the deficit, rebalancing the economy and rewarding people who do the right thing."

09/05/2012 15:35 BST

Cameron defends the 'Snoopers' Charter'

Speaking in Parliament, the Prime Minister has defended proposals that have caused controversy for their apparent invasiveness.

“What we are trying to do here is not look at the content of people’s telephone calls, but just to update the measures for finding out who called who and when

“I say to people, of course let’s look at the detail, but I don’t want to be the Prime Minister standing at this despatch box saying ‘we could have done more on terrorism’.”

09/05/2012 15:22 BST

Miliband - endorsing Nadine Dorries?

@ IanDunt :

Miliband wants Nadine Dorries on the government's remuneration committee http://t.co/y9vH2Nro #QueensSpeech

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